A case-by-case view on EU funding in CEE

Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries are the largest beneficiaries of EU funds as a percentage of GDP. At the same time, plenty of criticism arises on the actual impact of these spendings on the member states’ development, and on the achievement of common European goals in general, and in particular environmental and climate goals.

by Katalin Tarr, Clean Air Action Group

Published: 07 March 2023
© Ivelin Radkov | Getty Images

Experts of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the region have come to the conclusion* that the use of EU funds has been often inefficient, and in many cases, even harmful in their countries. The array of systemic problems varies from the tendency to fund oversized, overpriced, often even unnecessary investments with a significantly negative impact on the environment and climate to insufficient institutional capacities for the proper planning, implementation, and monitoring of projects.

However, by focusing solely on the generic trends, one might lose sight of the real-life examples of the problems and opportunities that arise with the use of EU taxpayers’ money in CEE. Therefore, CSOs participating in the project “Towards a Climate Neutral EU: Efficient Allocation of EU Funds” have created a database of interesting projects – exemplary and avoidable ones alike – displaying case studies with relevant policy recommendations that highlight how EU funds can be used effectively to achieve the European climate goals. The database, continuously expanding until the end of 2023, already includes over 100 valuable examples from 8 CEE countries, across various sectors.

Browse the database for interesting details on EU funding: learn about model examples of public transport developments and renewable energy communities as well as about outrageous instances of road constructions camouflaged as cycling paths, or subsidies to polluting lucrative private businesses. And if you know about other interesting examples that should be in the database, please share them by clicking here.

* Regional CSOs, who have been monitoring since 2018 how the spending of EU funds support EU climate action formulate their opinion in the position paper “The Current Funding System Of EU Funding To National Governments Must Change Profoundly“. Currently, the consortium is being supported by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI).

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